Past Masters line up to claim Green Jacket

John Aitken is the defending champion
John Aitken is the defending champion
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Bathgate based UK wide company Johnston Oils is the headline sponsor for the £4000 WLBA 18th West Lothian Masters that begins this Monday with a field of 186 battling for the £1000 title and the signature Green Jacket.

Established in 1999 to herald the change of name from The Linlithgowshire BA (1882) to the West Lothian BA, the inaugural Master was Andrew Dunnett of Queensferry and subsequent Green Jacket wearers include four-times champions Grant Logan and John Aitken of Kirkliston.

All three are in the 2016 line-up, and with Aitken defending the title the 61-year-old is seeded No.1 followed by 40-year-old Logan (2) and 42-year-old Dunnett, also the Master in 2007, at No.3.

Neil Speirs, gold medal hero of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, makes a welcome return to West Lothian’s flagship event, and the 2002 Master is seeded No.4 ahead of 2010 Master Gary Smith of Linlithgow at No.5.

Bo’ness star Ewan Shearer won in 2001 and the now 43-year-old lines up as the No.6 seed ahead of 48-year-old No.7 seed Brian Craig of Glenmavis who triumphed in 2014.

Cameron Greer raised the banner of Bathgate BC high to win the 2012 Masters and the 29-year-old is seeded No.8 and is followed at No.9 by his 34-year-old clubmate Bryan Cooper who reached the final in 2008.

Buchan Park produced last year’s runner up, Ryan Miller and, helped by his Champion of Champions triumph in 2008, the 25-year-old enters the seed ratings at No.10; he is followed at No.11 by the 2015 Junior Open champion Andy Semple of Newbridge.

The Newbridge banner is also represented by Alec Allan at No.12 and the 54-year-old Scottish and British Isles Pairs champion of 1995 remains ambitious to go one step better than his second place in the 2013 Masters.

Colin Cruickshanks of Pumpherston is a new entrant at No.13 with the 31-year-old impressing with his 2014 capture of the County Singles title, and by reaching the 2016 final.

Ray Logan enjoys an outstanding reputation and the 61-year-old from Kirkliston remains a star of the WLBA Hamilton Trophy team and is seeded 14.

Connor McKendrick of Middleton Hall entered the Seed list as the District Junior Singles champion in 2014 and, having won his Masters section that year, remains in the limelight at No.15.

Calum Black of Uphall Station is similarly rewarded as the 2016 District Champion and the 24-year-old completes the seeds’ list at No.16.

There is no question that the 2016 Masters title is winnable from outside the 16 seeds and a large part of the romance of the event is that giant killing will happen.

Jack High Insurance and local clubs Whitburn and Newbridge are additional sponsors.

Tony Macaroni restaurants will donate a £10 Voucher to each of the last 64 while the each of the last 16 will receive a £10 Voucher from Sainsbury’s Livingston.